More and more parents are faced with the complex issue of preparing their children for divorce. It’s important for you to realize that thousands of parents face this challenge each year. How you break the news depends on your child’s personality, age and the various circumstances that led to your divorce.
1. Kids love routine. Both parents should try their hardest to minimize disruptions to the daily routine. By doing this, your children will feel more stable during this difficult time. This can include who picks up your child from school, daycare and other activities; family traditions; going to church; and anything else that is done on a regular basis.
2. Do not speak negatively of the other parent in front of your child. This includes your family, friends, co-workers, etc. If you need to vent your frustrations, save it for when you’re alone or in therapy.
3. Your children should not hear heated discussions, arguments or any legal talk. These are very adult conversations that do not benefit your children in any way. We understand it’s difficult to stop an argument in the heat of the moment but remember, you don’t want your children to remember these moments. Stop the discussion and schedule a time to reconvene.
4. Each parent should continue to have a strong presence within the children’s lives. Even if one parent has moved out of the house, he or she must make efforts to regularly see the child. Children tend to blame themselves and parents need to reinforce that this has nothing to do with them.
5. Once you are certain the divorce is moving ahead, both parents should be present to tell the children. Keep feelings of blame, anger and guilt out of the equation. If necessary, practice this conversation to keep the emotions under bay. The overall message that needs to come through is that your children are not at fault in any way. The divorce is between mom and dad, not the child. It’s vital your children hear this message.
When it comes to preparing your children for divorce, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method. Each child will react differently based on their disposition, age and temperament. The initial reaction will most likely include some degree of sadness but most children can come out of it with a clear understanding of how to cope with stress, understand family dynamics and be stronger for it. We hope the above five tips are useful for you.
Do you have any tips to share? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Samantha Collier, is the Chief Content Manager at SHIFT Digital Media and a writer/contributor at My Turn Your Turn. She’s an avid blogger with a passion for social media for law firms. Samantha grew up in a blended family and enjoys passing on her struggles and insights to the My Turn Your Turn community. You can find her on Twitter at @samtaracollier.
Visit us on our official website at http://www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation. Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar, online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.